WASHINGTON ― While President Donald Trump claims he has “eradicated,” “wiped out” and even “absolutely obliterated” ISIS, there is one group that has ignored the president’s words: the terrorists themselves.
According to recent estimates by the United Nations and the U.S. Defense Department’s inspector general, the self-described Islamic State has between 20,000 and 31,100 fighters ― figures nearly identical to CIA estimates of the terror group’s strength in 2014 when it was near its zenith.
What’s more, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ― or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, as it is also known ― actually regrouped somewhat earlier this year. Foreign affairs experts suggest it will concentrate on overseas attacks now that it has lost most of the territory it used to control in Iraq and Syria.
“Despite the damage to bureaucratic structures of the so-called ‘caliphate,’ the collective discipline of ISIL is intact,” according to a July 27 report commissioned by the U.N. Security Council. “The general security and finance bureaus of ISIL are intact.”